Billy Denk | Circulicity
Label: Waltzing Square Recording
Waltzing on the Square; Circulicity; Casco Viejo; Tarantula; Tessa Claire; Swing Lake; One Night Only; Seesaw; Samba Sunrise; In a Blue Way; Bird in Flight; Sunday Afternoon
Additional Personnel / Information
Billy Denk: guitar & producer; Dave Childress: piano; Chris Ray: bass; John Weber: drums; Josh Richter: engineer
Circulicity is the 2010 debut release from jazz guitarist and composer Billy Denk. Denk has become a welcome addition to the Chicago jazz scene. He founded Jazz on the Square in 2007 to promote jazz education and performance. In addition, his group, the Glazz Ensemble, regularly perform their hybrid of jazz, funk and jazzy interpretations of modern pop throughout Chicago. With this release, Denk offers twelve original jazz compositions backed by the John Weber Trio. The album demonstrates its influences clearly. One can hear the guitar of Kenny Burrell or Grant Green on the Latin pieces, bop workouts, funky blues and ballads in Billy's playing. The expressive piano work of David Childress is reminiscent of Tommy Flanagan and Bill Evans. The rhythm section, featuring Chicago jazz veterans Chris Ray on bass and John Weber on drums, channels Evans’ classic rhythm section of Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian. Denk chose the John Weber Trio because of its mastery at interpreting Evans’ pieces, feeling that their interplay would fit his compositions. Though the classic jazz influences are evident, the compositions sound modern due to the engineering of Josh Richter. His work can be heard on releases by Bobby Broom, Typhanie Monique and the Deep Blue Organ Trio. The recording opens with “Waltzing on the Square." The interplay between the rhythm section and the lead instruments is telepathic. “Bird in Flight” is a Monk-inspired tune that threatens to come unhinged. Childress particularly shines on the solo. “Swing Lake” is Denk's interpretation of the Swan Lake theme by Tchaikovsky. Preceding it is “Tessa Claire," a beautiful solo guitar piece inspired by Johnny Smith and Billy's daughter. The teetering, tottering “Seesaw” is a hard bop piece that grooves into modal territory and allows the musicians, especially Ray, to really stretch. The title tune, "Circulicity" is Denk's take on bebop with sublime drumwork by Weber. “Sunday Afternoon," co- written by Childress, is guaranteed to inspire a stroll in the park on a lazy, Sunday, summer day! The rest of the disc is full of interesting songs and passionate performances. Denk's original compositions come alive with the dynamic contributions of Childress, Ray and Weber. Consider this a fresh sounding release deserving of room in your jazz collection! Billy Denk | guitar Dave Childress | keyboards Chris Ray | bass John Weber | drums Recorded March 17-18 and April 8, 2010 at Victorian Recording, Barrington Hills, IL. Engineered by Josh Richter. Mastered by Jason Ward, Chicago Mastering Service, Chicago, IL. Artwork and photography by Seth Vogt. Design by Billy Denk.